Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

A Look Into Vocabulary

Last week Courtney and I were really trying to focus in on just one question rather than the two that we were juggling with. Because we had been working with a group of 10 students the past two weeks really trying to get some interesting information to work off, we decided to keep with that same group, but take a different approach. One question was looking at the idea of more, less, and the same. When brainstorming, we wanted to try a different angle with the same idea. We came up with playing “Line Em Up” with the iPad, and video recording each student while Courtney and I both asked questions and worked rather than each of us working one-on-one. I thought having both of us work with the students allowed us at the teachers to bounce ideas off each other to ensure we were getting the information we wanted. So while playing “Line Em Up” we wanted to use vocabulary that goes along with more, less, and the same such as before and after, as well as greater than and less than. We decided this because we felt that we used this vocabulary with the students (on accident) interchangeably while WE knew the meaning behind each term but it was clear that our students didn’t. For example, a student could tell us what numbers came before and after a number that we chose, but they could not do one more or one less. This difference in learning vocabulary and meaning sparked an interest because we wanted to see which terms came easier to the students to understand than others.
For now, we noticed that across the board, most students really struggled with the concept of “Less”-before, less than, one less. It was much easier for students to count up and count on than it was for them to go backwards and think in reverse. This makes sense because the students are used to the patterns of counting up in their head and out loud, and not the pattern of counting backwards. We also thought it was interesting that some students had a good grasp on the concepts of “greater than and less than” while others had never heard of those concepts before.
Overall, I would say this was a successful week for us because we were able to zoom in just a little bit closer on not only picking one question, but gearing that question towards the idea of vocabulary use in mathematics and how students learn those vocabulary terms with different means or at different times as if some are harder to understand than others even though essentially they are talking about the same concepts. Getting the students to wrap their head around this will be fun and enjoyable to have them connect the dots and come full circle…hopefully! Assuming everything will go as planned, but that is never the case, Hah!

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